Being an indie author is about how good you are at being a multitasker. Writing alone does not guarantee the success of your novel. You need to teach yourself the basics of marketing and social media management, while also developing an eye for graphic design to help stay in-budget.
But, besides these obvious problems, there are many other obscure struggles that are rarely spoken of. You may regularly update your followers on social media, but how do you convert followers and website visitors to readers? How do you set yourself a schedule and stick to it? How can you avoid removal of your book from Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited because you violated some obscure law you were not even aware of in the first place? Here are 3 such unforeseen struggles indie authors have to face when self-publishing their book.
01. Lack of a Deadline
When authors sign contracts with traditional publishing companies (especially with series), they have a set deadline to work to. In such instances, when the fear of a looming deadline hangs above your head, it’s easier to stick to a strict schedule. With obligations comes a sense of responsibility—but when you don’t have to hold yourself accountable to someone else? That’s when the real trouble starts.
Indie authors have to work according to their own timetable, which is both good and bad, depending on the type of person you are. If you work better without a deadline—great! But most people struggle with the lack of one, because it’s easy to lose motivation when you’re the only one who cares about the work you create (at least before you build yourself a fanbase).
02. Copyright Issues
In self-publishing, you must learn the rules yourself. Different self-publishing platforms have different rules, and it’s important to gain a thorough understanding of these rules if you are to avoid running into copyright issues. Amazon’s self-publishing services, for instance, have stringent copyright and publishing laws you cannot simply skim through and click “I agree to Terms & Conditions.” You can run afoul of minor laws that would cause having your book taken down by Amazon.
Another aspect of copyright issues in self-publishing is when other people steal chunks of your work—sometimes the entirety of it. Taking legal actions against these fraudulent authors can cost more than what you earn.
03. Finding Reviews
Finding book reviews as an established author is effortless, since famous authors have readers clamoring to get their hands on these first copies. But what if it’s your first book, and you’re self-publishing it? How do you procure positive reviews to attract new readers?
Readers are often apprehensive about new authors whose books have no substantial recognition within the literary community. Finding reviews in order to gain this recognition can be a little tricky and should be done before your book launch. Therefore, give out ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies)—free copies of your book—to selected readers before launch, in exchange for an honest review. Even after your official book launch, leave a reminder to your readers to leave their feedback once they finish your book. You can also make connections with other authors via social media by reading their books and leaving your own feedback.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.